So, how are you holding up?

During the past year, that’s a question that has taken on myriad meanings as stressors pile upon stressors. Since words such as COVID-19, pandemic, masks, shut-downs, Zoom and virtual have entered our everyday lexicon, equally weighty terms, such as isolation, down-size, online school and family based needs also have become part of the mental health challenges most of us deal with on some level every single day. Indeed, 53 percent of adults in the United States have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to the coronavirus. And, that statistic came from mid-year 2020. We’re long past that time now.

“Unprecedented times” these challenges have been called, and they are that.

Unprecedented also is the level and breadth of mental health struggles many of us in the High Country are dealing with. For some of us, those struggles have elevated into substance abuse and other issues. For other, economic challenges, worry about catching the virus, lack of social interaction and the stress of homeschooling have contributed to anxiety and depression.

Recognizing this, the North Carolina Department of health and Human Services recently released a COVID-19 community readiness toolkit — a resource that can be accessed online, downloaded or printed out. Despite its all-encompassing, and perhaps misleading for-the-needs-of-many-of-us title — “COVID-19 Community Readiness: Helping Meet Needs for Persons Living with Behavior Health Issues, Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, and Traumatic Brain Injuries” — this 15-page report offers guidance to accessing the resources many of us need now.

Whether or not you are struggling at this time, you undoubtedly know someone who is. Finding or sharing this report can be a good first step. Visit

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